Qatar: Al-Ajami’s sentence upheld on appeal

English PEN joins PEN International in continuing to protest the detention of poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, whose 15-year sentence for ‘criticising the ruler’ and ‘inciting the overthrow of the ruling system’ was upheld on 21 October 2013. He remains in solitary confinement in Doha Central prison

PEN considers Al-Ajami to be imprisoned in violation of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. We also oppose the use of criminal defamation and insult laws and call for them to be overturned.

For further information on Al-Ajami’s case, please visit the PEN International website.

TAKE ACTION

Please send appeals immediately:

(NB A sample letter is provided below, but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.)

  • Protesting the continued detention of poet Mohammed al-Ajami, solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
  • Urging the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release poet Al-Ajami and for defamation to be decriminalised in Qatar;
  • Demanding that whilst imprisoned Mohammed al-Ajami is allowed to associate with other prisoners, and that restrictions on visits from family, friends, and independent observers are lifted as mandated by UN principles;
  • Urging Qatar to accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without delay.

Send appeals to:

Amir of the State of Qatar
Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
PO Box 923
Doha, State of Qatar
Fax: + 974 4436 1212
Salutation: Your Highness

Minister of the Interior
Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani
Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 920
Doha, State of Qatar
Email: info@moi.gov.qa
Salutation: His Excellency

Copies to:

Attorney General
Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri
PO Box 705
Doha, State of Qatar
Fax: +974 4484 3211

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Qatar in your country if possible.

His Excellency Mr. Khalid Rashid Salem Al-Homoudi Al-Mansouri
Embassy of the State of Qatar
1 South Audley St
London
W1K 1NB
Fax: 020 7493 2819
Twitter: @QatarEmbassyUK
[ecampaign ‘to=info@moi.gov.qa‘ subject=”Release Mohammed Al-Ajami”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the continued detention of poet Mohammed al-Ajami.

I believe that poet Mohammed al-Ajami has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, and urge the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally. I also call on the authorities to ensure that, whilst he remains imprisoned, he is allowed to associate with other prisoners, and that restrictions on visits from family, friends, and independent observers are lifted as mandated by UN principles.

Furthermore, I oppose the criminal defamation and insult laws under which he has been convicted, and call for them to be overturned at the earliest opportunity. I also strongly urge Qatar to accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without delay.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely,

[/ecampaign]

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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